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Sports Eye Safety 101

Why protecting your kids’ eyes is important

Yet another school year is well on its way. Students in the Toledo area and across the country are getting back into the swing of things — and we’re not just talking homework. For 3 out of 4 American families with school-aged kids, at least 1 child plays an organized sport. That’s nearly 45 million kids!

But with all that fun comes some safety risk. Most injuries that happen to school-aged kids occur while playing sports. The 40,000 sports-related eye injuries happening every year lead to nearly 100,000 doctor visits annually, costing upwards of $175 million. On top of that, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S.

Sports can put your kids’ eyes at risk. Are you taking eye safety seriously?

The good news is that 9 out of 10 of those yearly eye injuries are completely preventable by wearing the right protective eyewear. No matter what sport or physical activities your young ones are getting into this year, make sure they’re using the appropriate type of eye protection for safe fun.

Playing Sports with High Risks of Eye Injury

Most sports-related eye injuries for any age group happen when playing basketball, baseball or racquetball. Sports like boxing, martial arts and hockey are also high-risk sports. Some moderate-risk sports include golf, soccer and tennis, while low-risk sports include cycling and swimming. Sports like gymnastics or track and field are considered safe, meaning there’s a very low risk of eye injury.

Wearing the appropriate kind of eye protection during these sports is the best way to limit eye injury, but — surprisingly — most sports leagues for kids don’t require eye protection use, even though doing so greatly reduces injury risk. (If your kids’ school or league doesn’t require protective eyewear, consider having a talk with coaches, administration and other parents!)

And keep in mind: Regular glass lenses or contact lenses will not provide adequate protection. Using protective eyewear, such as ultra-strong polycarbonate lenses, as well as helmets with polycarbonate face masks, is the best way to lower the chances of sustaining harm to the eyes. In fact, polycarbonate is 10x more impact-resistant than other materials, and if your child needs vision-correcting eyewear, you can easily get safe eyewear made out of this tough plastic with lenses that fit your prescription. (Just ask us!)

For outdoor sports or physical activities that don’t require specific protective eyewear, protecting your peepers from the sun is still extra important. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses that

  • Block 99–100% UV rays
  • Reduce glare
  • Fit comfortably

You can also check out our previous post about protecting your eyes from the sun to learn more.

Adequate Eye Protection + Caution = Safer Eyeballs

Official school sports aren’t the only time your kids’ eyes are at risk. Your children run the risk of eye injury during all kinds of physical activities both indoors and outdoors, too. Injuries during things like yard work, repairs, cleaning and cooking account for 40% of home-related eye injuries and, according to the U.S. Eye Injury Registry, fishing is the number-one cause of eye injuries related to sports. Needless to say, eye safety is always important during physical activities, even if it’s not an official school sport.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are common-sense guidelines you can encourage your kids to follow:

  • Regular eyeglasses cannot adequately protect your eyes.
  • Games or activities with sharp objects or projectiles require extra caution.
  • Be careful during activities (usually outdoors) that might involve flying debris.

Eye Safety for the Whole Family

Eye protection isn’t just for the kids. Chances are, you parents out there will participate in some kind of physical activities and sports, perhaps even with the kids. So that’s why it’s important for adults to wear appropriate protective eyewear as well. Not only will it provide protection, but it also sets a great example for how to exercise caution when you’re having sports-related fun.

Image via Advantage Eyecare

If you’re in Northwest Ohio and you’ve got children in need of protective or vision-correcting sports eyewear, visit Perrysburg Eye Center’s Optical Shop. We’ve got a variety of prescription sports goggles and glasses, licensed eye health experts, as well as other tips for your eye safety!

Get more information about quality eyewear and eye care by calling Perrysburg Eye Center at (419) 874-3125, schedule your first visit as a patient, and make sure to stop by our optical shop!

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